Rider Date of birth
Alexandr Vinokourov (KAZ) 16 September 1973 (age 38)
Assan Bazayev (KAZ) 22 February 1981 (age 31)
Borut Božič (SLO) 8 August 1980 (age 31)
Janez Brajkovič (SLO) 18 December 1983 (age 28)
Alexsandr Dyachenko (KAZ) 17 October 1983 (age 28)
Dmitry Fofonov (KAZ) 15 August 1976 (age 35)
Enrico Gasparotto (ITA) 22 March 1982 (age 30)
Francesco Gavazzi (ITA) 1 August 1984 (age 27)
Dmitriy Gruzdev (KAZ) 13 March 1986 (age 26)
Jacopo Guarnieri (ITA) 14 August 1987 (age 24)
Andriy Hryvko (UKR) 7 August 1983 (age 28)
Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ) 18 April 1981 (age 30)
Valentin Iglinskiy (KAZ) 12 May 1984 (age 27)
Tanel Kangert (EST) 11 March 1987 (age 25)
Andrey Kashechkin (KAZ) 21 March 1980 (age 32)
Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE) 17 May 1980 (age 31)
Robert Kišerlovski (CRO) 9 August 1986 (age 25)
Roman Kreuziger (CZE) 6 May 1986 (age 25)
Francesco Masciarelli (ITA) 5 May 1986 (age 25)
Dimitry Muravyev (KAZ) 2 November 1979 (age 32)
Yevgeniy Nepomnyachshiy (KAZ) 12 March 1987 (age 25)
Evgeni Petrov (RUS) 25 May 1978 (age 33)
Simone Ponzi (ITA) 17 January 1987 (age 25)
Sergey Renev (KAZ) 3 January 1985 (age 27)
Kevin Seeldraeyers (BEL) 12 September 1986 (age 25)
Egor Silin (RUS) 25 June 1988 (age 23)
Paolo Tiralongo (ITA) 8 July 1977 (age 34)
Andrey Zeits (KAZ) 14 December 1986 (age 25)
Team Astana started of in 2007 as the team that should bring Aleksandr Vinokourov (Vino) to victory in the biggest cycling race in the world. With help from super domestiques like Andreas Kloden and Andrey Kasheckin, this should not be much of a problem. Atleast we thought so, not in his very best shape, a bad fall, a danish chicken, a spanish pistolero, and one blood bag later, Vinokourov was sent home to Kazakhstan in shame, and the team pulled itself out of the tour.
This was not the end of Astana thought. Discovery Channel pulled it sponsorship, and Johan "the hog" Bruyneel with his spanish superstar Alberto Contador joined the team. Even thought they did not get an invitation to the Tour de France in 2008, Contador pulled of to win the Giro/Vuelta double and by that succseded to win all 3 grand tours in just 14 months.
2009 was a very challenging year for the Astana team. economic difficulties and the sudden comeback of LA split the team up in pieces. Although LA really reall really wanted his 8th tour, and succeeded to turn most of the team against Alberto, he once again showed the world who was the strongest gt rider of his decade. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibVr481vCIk
As if the tension between Alberto and Lance was not enough, the announcement of the comeback of the "awesome one" Aleksandr Vinokourov led to the departure of Bruynell, LA and most of the 09 super team.
Team Astana went into the season of 2010 with a new management, and a new superstar, by many called cyclings answer to Eddy Merckx, Aleksandr Vinokourov.
Even with the force the returning son brought with him, many doubted Astanas strenght and dept for this season. Many even said this is not the most awesome team in the sport of cycling
Fortunately they were proven wrong. Alberto won his third tour, Vino won the LBL by pure awesome power and team Astana was without any doubt the most awesome team in the world.
Unfortunately Alberto Contador was after his third tour victory struck by Megalomanía, thinking that he could pull of yet another victory in the tour WITHOUT Vino by his side. I was unfortunately in coma May 2011, so i do only know that he failed miserably in the tour....
Anyway, Since Contador left, Astana had to get reinforcements. They signed Kreuziger, Kiserlovski, that swedish guy amongst others. But as we could see through the season, noone of them could quite perform as well as that spanish guy that had left them after last season. Vino that was planning to retire after the season desided after his invention, the gravity had betrayed him, to take yet another season.
So now we are here in April 2012, and i am wondering, who shall lead Astana to glory this year? or next year?
What is the destiny of team Astana?
Let us debate in a friendly manner, and do not forget Vino is awesome.